Alternative Fillings as
listed in the Margins of the Agenda
pineapple, ham hock
Everbuild One Strike
vanilla, Anything you feel like.
Timothys at it
again, this meeting as much as the last.
Reminding us of our
purpose in his opening broadcast.
We must not forget, he
says, what is most important in all we do
As if its likely
wed forget; as if it could be anything but true.
people, he proclaims,
As if wed missed
They have lives and
needs and wants, he tells us,
And we sit there and
take it, with nary a raised eyebrow.
And then out it comes,
as it always does,
When my mordant margins
We must never
lose sight that were person-centred, he says,
As opposed to what,
though, is never revealed.
Sideways Sam, they call
perpetually shuffling into the side-alleys, the side routes,
The ginnels, the
snickets, and the twittens.
Very often the
Because if theres
a straight line to be taken,
A main road or a direct
Sams off on the
90 degrees to the rest
And then 90 degrees
As he tracks our
A full block
As he takes in the
As he avoids the
As he keeps his head
Sam cant stand
the agony of the oncoming gleam,
If you think him
capable of a straight answer.
And that goes for
headlights or glasses,
The look of the
steadily advancing pedestrian at the end of the road
The walk towards them,
at whatever speed he can manage,
The agony of not being
able to acknowledge them,
Even as its no
longer possible to deviate from his path,
Because we dont
acknowledge each other,
Because that is just
Even if youve
been avoiding each others eyes for minutes
Until that moment you
And it would be such a
relief to say,
watching you grow in my field of vision
For half a sodding hour
And thats too
much for someone to ignore.
meant to blank people for that long.
What the hell are we
doing to ourselves?
So Sam prefers the
Hes happier that
He says hes
Which is fine for him,
As long as we
dont all give it a try.
is a mistake to ask Telepathic Ted why
it proves that you do not know.
it tells him you cannot read him, cannot hear what he can
what he ought to hear behind your why.
try as he might, he finds nothing there.
sees the badge, he sees the uniform,
knows youre asking because of them,
in your head, he finds none of your interest,
all of your lack.
is no voice there,
curiosity, no attempt to reach him.
yet Ted is telepathic.
told you that.
he had to.
you did not know.
is telepathic and he hears nothing from you.
Nothing of you.
so he doesnt need to tell you why.
doesnt need to tell you anything.
so he wont,
precisely the way he didnt need to tell the others.
Do-Do-one, Ron, Ron;
It was too late to learn the lesson that the
Rons dont care,
But Id lived a closeted
Before I even knew what that meant,
And this was my first round.
The beer, lukewarm with a dishwater
Was weaker than my resolve,
When Ron looked round the table
And picked on me as the next up,
Even though this was my first time,
And even though Id been
Your round, son, he said, filing
his tenners away,
Ill have half a mild; best see what
the othersll have.
And this despite me hardly knowing
Because this was did I mention it?
my first round.
My first time with them, too, my new
My it was becoming obvious
til I could find something
Perhaps with people nearer my own
And financial limitations.
I spluttered a bit at the thought of the eight
of them sitting there,
As I ran the mental arithmetic I knew Ron had
And I knew I needed to say something
About the unauthorised overdraft
And the likelihood of being turfed from my
place at the end of the month
And the rest.
And I might have said something,
Thin as the beer,
Frothed as its head,
About being momentarily embarrassed in the
Because I foolishly thought then that Rons
And he blinked a bit at my words,
And he shook his head and he
Because his rule book was clear on the
When youre up, youre up,
No matter what the consequences.
Because men like him
Which I, of course, must so very much have
wanted to be
Never talked about the consequences.
And thats when I should have told him
what really needed to be said.
Thats why, twenty years later, this piece
is titled as it is.